Exploring Current Food and Beverage Trends: Insights from the Field

Image shows 4 images taken at the IFE event showing range of convenience foods, meat snacks, food service innovation and a 'selfie' of Hamish Renton and Louise Winter
IFE 2024

Staying abreast of emerging trends is essential for businesses seeking to innovate and meet evolving consumer demands in the vibrant food and beverage landscape. Recently, I had the opportunity to delve into the latest trends shaping the market, drawing insights from various sources including the International Food & Drink Event (IFE). Here are some noteworthy observations… 


High Protein Snacks  

In recent years, dairy products have dominated the high protein innovation scene. However, as demand for high protein products continues to surge, there is a significant shift towards meat snack formats emphasising high protein content in their messaging. Emerging brands, particularly from Eastern European are capitalising on this trend, particularly prominent at IFE showcasing products tailored to the growing preference for convenient on the go protein rich options.  


Convenience Redefined 

Convenience remains a key driver of consumer purchasing decisions and is a recurring theme prompting brands to reimagine accessibility and product availability. Technology is playing a pivotal role, with personalised vending machine experiences and temperature-controlled options catering to consumer preferences on show at events such as IFE. Notably, packaging innovation aimed to facilitate on-the-go consumption, reflecting the demand for convenient food and beverage solutions. 


Functional Coffee Emerges 

Functional beverages are gaining momentum and becoming mainstream, with coffee emerging as a prominent player in this space. While yogurt and milk-based functional drinks have traditionally dominated this space, brands are introducing coffee products with added functionalities such as immunity, energy, and beauty and wellness. The introduction of low-caffeine options spotted at IFE reflect shifting consumer preferences in the functional beverage category. I will be keeping an eye on this as I’m interested to see whether functional coffee drinks stick around or are more of a fad. 


Exploring the Future of Foodservice 

Recent discussions have delved into the future of foodservice, addressing the implications of an ageing population and technological advancements. There was a notable emphasis on lunch and afternoon dining daypart experiences at IFE, with a preference for comfortable environments and the need for speed. The role of technology in meeting consumer demand for fast and convenient foodservice was a focal point, raising questions about the balance between efficiency and human interaction. Will we miss it? 


These emerging trends underscore the dynamic nature of the food and beverage industry. By staying attuned to these developments and adapting to evolving consumer preferences, businesses can position themselves for success in an ever-changing market landscape. 

If you’re a business looking to innovate to meet the evolving needs of consumers, get in touch to see how we can help.  

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